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Puppeteers Meet in West Liberty for Great Plains Puppet Train Festival

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Courtesy of Brian Hull
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Puppeteer Brian Hull performing Kaytek the Wizard

Puppeteers from all over the country are traveling to Iowa for the Great Plains Puppet Train, a regional puppet festival in West Liberty.

The events begin Thursday, September 13 and run through Sunday the 16th. On this edition of Talk of Iowa, host Charity Nebbe visits with some of the artists who will be performing, including Brian Hull of Nashville.

“The thing about puppetry is, you can do anything. There’s this great idea that actors act and puppets are, and I think that’s the truth of it,” Hull says. “That is not some famous actress as Cinderella; that is Cinderella. It can be nothing else.”

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Miss Pussycat of New Orleans

Hull is the director of BriAnimations, and he’s also the puppeteer of the Nashville Public Library. At the festival, he will perform “Kaytek the Wizard,” an adaptation of a 1933 children’s book.

Other guests participating in the discussion include: Monica Leo of Eulenspiegel Puppet Theatre Company in West Liberty; Shari Aronson, the co-creative director of Z Puppets Rosenschnoz in Minneapolis; and New Orleans based puppeteer Panacea Theriac.

Aronson and her husband, Chris Griffith, will perform a glow in the dark puppet show called "Cellula," described as a “glowing magnification of mitosis.”

Theriac found her way to puppetry through Christian ministry and punk rock. She and her spouse Robert Rolston perform together as Quintron and Miss Pussycat.

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Hear Charity Nebbe's interview with Temple Grandin

In the third segment, Nebbe talks with animal behaviorist and best-selling author Temple Grandin, who is known around the world for her extraordinary understanding of animal behavior. She is a professor of Animal Science at Colorado State University. She is also an activist, raising awareness and advocating for the rights of people on the autism spectrum. 

Grandin will speak at Iowa State University Thursday, September 13th in the Great Hall of the Memorial Union at 7 p.m.

Charity Nebbe is the host of IPR's Talk of Iowa